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Lammas Newsletter, September 2007

Invitation to Members

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Origins of Lammas,
By Paul Wimbush

“It’s hard to say where & when Lammas began. Perhaps it began some six years ago when myself and Tony Wrench were living at Brithdir Mawr talking about and imagining a low-impact ecovillage. It felt like a wild dream then. Perhaps it began before that, some eight years ago when an agenda 21 group lobbied Pembrokeshire County Council for a low- impact policy. It seemed like a total long-shot back then.

For me it really took off two years ago when a group of people gathered around a fire one summer evening to talk about creating a new ecovillage. The spark took hold there and then. Since that day I have lived, talked and dreamed Lammas. I can count on my hands the number of days when I have not worked on the project. I have loved it.

For me the Lammas project is a largely intuitive affair that begins in my belly, rises through my heart and is articulated through thought. The physical manifestation is yet to come. Throughout the project thus far, my core feeling is one of sincere gratitude for the opportunity to play a part in it. I believe Lammas has the potential to really shine. Bright. There is still a long way to go. And yet already the project feels real to me in some way.

I believe the time has come for green initiatives to flower. For so long the alternative movement has been a fringe activity for hippies and eccentrics. Now the movement is becoming mainstream. And I think we owe our thanks to all those hippies and eccentrics who have done so much important groundwork in creating tangible examples of what is possible, against all odds. I think it is our time to be empowered, clear and creative.

The first wave of residents will be key in bringing the project to fruition. Their task will be to turn barren fields into homes, gardens, orchards and crops. It is going to be quite some task. It is also going to be lots of fun.

There are many people who have played and are playing important roles in the project. However I would like to specially thank my wife, Hoppi, who has supported me through this rather crazy time, and Sue Burke, who has been a cornerstone of faith for the project.”

Lammas News

The planning application will go to the planning committee on October 9th. A decision will probably be deferred until November 6th to allow the committee time to visit the site.

David Lawrence from Pembrokeshire County Council is currently very busy compiling and sorting through all the letters of support and opposition. We are working towards a meeting towards the end of September at which we hope to be discussing the nature of the conditions which would accompany planning approval.

In the meantime we are preparing for a Lammas roadshow.

We are planning to hold a drop-in display of the project on the following days:

23rd October, Narberth
24th October, Haverfordwest
25th October, Cardigan

Kit is making a largescale model of the whole site, including houses, barns and polytunnels.

A model of the community hub building (designed by architect Robin Campbell) is being constructed by CIRRIC.

Ecovillage Pioneers dvd

The ecovillage pioneers film is being met with a great response from viewers. The summer screenings at festivals went down very well. The dvd, which is issued as a freebie in the latest edition of Permaculture news, will also be available from undercurrents.

The film was made by Helen Iles of Undercurrents and is presented by Paul Wimbush. It charts the story of Helens search for an ecovillage home, including Crystal waters (Australia), Sunseed (Spain) and Holtsfield (Swansea). In parallel it charts the story of Lammas and Paul’s quest for an ecovillage, including Tinkers Bubble (England), The Village (Ireland), Findhorn (Scotland) and C.A.T. (Wales).

Low-Impact News
from around The UK


Great news! Landmatters Co-operative - a permaculture community of 18 people, who own and manage 42 acres in South Hams, Devon have won their appeal against South Hams District Council's decision last year not to grant them 5 years temporary planning permission!

On Thursday 23rd August, a government planning inspector ruled that the community should get 3 years temporary planning permission forthwith.

Most significantly, the Inspector’s ruling explicitly endorsed the permaculture aspect of the project, which is a planning precedent for the UK. The planning inspector granted planning permission for a permaculture holding, integrating agriculture, forestry, education, ancillary rural enterprises and residential use subject to the 'low-impact' criteria set out in their planning application. It marks a further important benchmark for recognition of low-impact development in the countryside within UK planning policy, following the example of communities such as Kings Hill and Tinkers Bubble in Somerset and Fivepenny Farm in West Dorset.


Tony Wrench’s Roundhouse

Tony Wrench and Jane Faith failed in their recent bid for planning permission from the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
Authority members ruled the self-styled eco-development at Brithdir Mawr was not "sufficiently self-sustainable".
Mr Wrench built the roundhouse in 1997. The national park authority only became aware of the house on its land in 1998 and has demanded its demolition ever since.
A truce was called between the two parties while the park authority drew up the "low impact development" policy to govern such applications.
But at a meeting members ruled that on balance the roundhouse was not of "positive environmental benefit" and did not provide "sufficient livelihood" for residents to live in a self-sustainable way.
Tone and Jane plan to appeal.


Registered Office

Our registered office has changed. It is now 22 Holtsfield, Murton, Swansea, SA3 3AQ